Molecular mixology may have had its first wave years ago, but bartenders are far from quitting on the show stopping potential that lives behind the bar, thanks to techniques and tools yielding everything from smoke and ice crystals to new spirits entirely. Because you probably shouldn’t try any of these at home, here are four places you should be visiting for these dynamite drams.
PLANK SMOKED OLD FASHIONED at AMERICAN CUT
Your old fashioned comes with a modern twist at this Tribeca steakhouse, where bartender Alexa Rose torches and burns a plank of maple wood and uses a glass to trap the resulting smoke, which is then released as the guest drinks it. “It’s a complete sensory experience for our guests, says Rose. “The smoke itself adds an immediate olfactory connection, and people often remark that it takes them back to memories around a campfire or fireplace.”
BETONY G&T at BETONY
Approximately 10 ingredients, from cardamom and bay leaf, to chamomile and black pepper, make their way into this cocktail — proving it a far, creative cry from your typical G&T. That’s because bartender Eamon Rockey makes gin in house and from scratch, combining vodka and botanicals in a plastic bag, which is placed in a Baine Marie, stirred, and chilled, resulting in a more floral style of London dry gin.
THE SMOKE at THE STANDING ROOM
At this Long Island City bar, bartenders Joji Watanabe and Shige Kabashima combine bourbon, Ancho Chile, Cynar, and scotch in a snifter before placing a glass bell over the glassware and using a smoker to fill it with charred cinnamon smoke. Only when the entire bell turns white do they remove it, revealing a smoke-filled snifter ready for consumption.
THE THAI BASIL DAIQUIRI at BOOKER AND DAX
Thanks to the expert know how in centrifuges and liquid nitrogen, nearly every cocktail at this East Village hangout takes on the form of a mini science experiment. Just one of them is the Thai Basil Daiquiri, a classic cocktail turned on its head with basil leaves frozen by liquid nitrogen, which are then muddled into a fine powder that meets white rum, simple syrup and lime juice.
By Nicole Schnitzler
(Photos from left: The Smoke at The Standing Room; Betony G&T by Signe Birck; Plank Smoked Old Fashioned at American Cut by Melissa Hom)